2023 is all about omnichannel profitability

Jan 13, 2023

Louise Taylor

For Northfork and other grocery tech innovators and leaders around the world, few events are as exciting as CES. Organised by the Consumer Technology Association, CES showcases breakthrough technologies and global innovations. Grocery retailers were there in force this year. They shared insights and developments that will shape the sector in 2023 and beyond.

Omnichannel profitability

Walmart - which accounts for more than a quarter of all grocery revenue in the US - was at CES to share its approach to omnichannel delivery.

"Omnichannel profitability will be a key focus for grocery retailers in 2023," explains Northfork CEO and Co-founder Erik Wallin. "We shop differently now. Retailers understand that and want to meet customers at their point of inspiration."

For Walmart, this means taking a three-pronged approach. The firm will be focusing on retail media and analytics, augmented reality (AR) and social commerce in 2023.

Serving shoppers better

At the heart of the retail media strategy is using analytics to serve shoppers better. Data supports the retailer to understand its customers. It also underpins more strategic supplier relationships. Walmart can then meet customers' needs in a range of ways. The old "stores business" approach is out. A full omnichannel focus is in.

Accelerating its focus on AR is also part of Walmart's plan to serve shoppers better. Key to this is meeting consumers at their point of inspiration or need creation. Walmart then aims to reduce the time it takes to fulfill that need.

"This approach mirrors that of the recipe shopping model," comments Northfork's Erik Wallin. "It ties inspiration, need creation and fulfilment together to deliver an enhanced consumer experience."

Personalisation plays into Walmart's AR approach, along with a deep understanding of customer data. As Cheryl Ainoa, Walmart's SVP of New Business and Emerging Technology, explains, it means, "We can give a real look at the customer and give them an experience that matches how they want to find things."

Social commerce has a role to play too. The huge time-commitment that American consumers make to social networks means grocery retailers need to meet them there. Product and recipe discovery are taking place online. Live-streaming and other forms of content creation are continually evolving. As such, marketing and media investments cannot afford to ignore social commerce in 2023. For Walmart and others, social networks will be a major driver of omnichannel profitability over the coming year and beyond.